Khamenei: Military action ‘not enough’ to ensure US withdrawal from Iran

UNTV News   •   January 8, 2020   •   487

By Marina Villén

Tehran – Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said an Iranian missile attack against two military bases used by United States troops in Iraq did not satisfactorily avenge the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Addressing a congregation in the city of Qom, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic said the US had to be expelled from the region altogether.

“They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,” Khamenei, who has the final say on all of Iran’s affairs, said.

“The corruptive presence of the US in the region of West Asia must be stopped.”

President Hassan Rouhani said the strike proved Iran would not back down against the US.

“If the Americans are sensible, they will not take further action,” he said.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed earlier Wednesday that it had launched “tens of surface-to-surface” ballistic missiles against the Al-Assad base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar and the Harir camp in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region in the north.

Both airbases hosted Iraqi soldiers and personnel from the international coalition against the Islamic State, which includes the US, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, among others.

No causalities were reported by the international coalition members although US officials said the damage was still being surveyed.

Furthermore, no Iraqis were harmed in the attacks on its territory, the country’s prime minister’s office later said.

A statement from Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Madhi said Tehran had informed Baghdad of the incoming strike “in response to the assassination of the martyr Qasem Soleimani.”

“At the exact same time, the American side called us and the rockets were falling on the wing of the American forces at Ain Al-Assad bases in Anbar and Harir in Arbil and in other locations.

Iraq said it was attempting to contain the situation and not engage in open warfare.

“Iraq and the region would be among the first victims,” the statement said.

In a previous statement, the security cell said 17 missiles hit Ain Al-Assad — including two that did not detonate — and five hit Harir.

“All fell on the coalition headquarters, no causalities were recorded in the Iraqi forces. We will provide further details later.”

US President Donald Trump visited the Al-Asad airbase with First Lady Melania Trump in December 2018.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional interior minister Robir Ahmed told local agency INA that there had been no material damage or human casualties caused by the rocket strikes on the Erbil base.

The Iranian strikes appeared to be the first retaliatory response from Tehran’s theocratic regime to the US drone strike that killed revered Quds Force commander Soleimani outside Baghdad’s international airport on Friday.

He was laid to rest in his native Kerman on Tuesday following three days of national mourning and massive public funeral ceremonies.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of an Iranian-backed Shia militia in Iraq and three others also died in the strike.

The European Union called for immediate dialogue to diffuse the crisis.

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said: “The use of weapons must stop now to give space for dialogue. We are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks. There cannot be enough of that.

“We have established and timetested relation with many actors in the region and beyond to de-escalate the situation.”

The EU is a signatory of the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal, a landmark agreement that saw Tehran trade in most of its nuclear program for looser sanctions. The framework has been severely tested since Trump’s withdrawal in 2018. EFE-EPA

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US donates hygiene kits, handwashing stations to Manila City gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government of the United States on Thursday donated hygiene kits and handwashing stations to the city government of Manila in support of the Philippine capital’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, US Ambassador Sung Kim said he visited the Delpan Quarantine Facility in Tondo to handover 5,000 hygiene kits and 16 handwashing stations to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Kim said the hygiene kits could provide additional protection against COVID-19 through the provision of items essential to practicing good personal hygiene.

The kits contain face masks, soap, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and toothbrushes.

“The U.S. government is a friend, partner, and ally of the Manileños in facing this pandemic. The American people are pleased to support the City of Manila’s efforts to fight COVID-19,” Kim said.

To complement the donation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said it will continue to collaborate with the Manila City Health Office to help ensure that citizens can access quality tuberculosis services during the pandemic as well as to support the rollout of the Department of Health’s “Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE)” strategy to contain the pandemic.

USAID recently donated two ventilators to the Tondo Medical Center as part of the 100 ventilators that the U.S. government handed over last August 28 to the Philippine government.

To date, the U.S. government has donated over P1 billion ($22.6 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.

Pompeo says closed Chinese consulate in Houston was ‘den of spies’

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (July 30) the “tide is turning” in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times,” Pompeo said.

In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country’s consulates – the United States closing China’s office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu – and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trading status.

“We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department’s annual budget request.

President Donald Trump’s administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either. (Reuters)

(Production: Kia Johnson)

China informs US to close consulate general in Chengdu

UNTV News   •   July 24, 2020

Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday informed the U.S. Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.

The ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General, said a statement issued by the ministry.

On July 21, the United States launched a unilateral provocation by abruptly demanding that China close its Consulate General in Houston, the statement said.

The U.S. move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-U.S. Consular Convention. It gravely harmed China-U.S. relations, said the statement.

The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the United States. It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices, said the statement.

The statement said the current situation in China-U.S. relations is not what China desires to see, and the United States is responsible for all this.

“We once again urge the United States to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track,” the statement added. (Reuters)

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